I've been wanting to post about this for a while and haven't gotten around to it but was reminded again by someone else's post. I'm pretty passionate about doing all we can to Save the Earth and really enjoy reusing and repurposing things. I'd like to share what we do in our household in hopes that others might adopt some of these as well as suggest more things we can do.
1. Use reusable groceries bags and baskets. We also have mesh netted ones for produce to avoid those little plastic produce bags. Plastic bags can also be recycled if their use can't be avoided. Use reusable water bottles like the SIGG ones or Stainless Steel ones. This one is such an easy change. I have a few reusables that I always have filled up and with me in the car. They keep the water cooler longer too. Travel coffee mugs are another great alternative that saves money too if you make your own pot at home. We have a few of these market totes that I found at T.J. Maxx a few years ago. I'm sure you can find them online for cheap too.
2. Buy local food. This one is so easy in the warmer months since there are Farmer's Markets all around the city offering fresh and delicious produce. Plus it's WAY cheaper than the grocery store. You can even sign up for a CSA and have all your weekly produce, eggs and meat delivered to your door. Here are some resources www. kc-csac.org, www.kcfoodcircle.org, and www.localharvest.org
3. Use reusable plates and cups instead of paper/plastic for parties. We use our everyday dinnerware but you can also by products made of Bamboo if you really want something that you can throw away. Bamboo is renewable so it's a little better on the environment.
4. Pack our leftovers and lunches in glass pyrex tupperware instead of ziplocs or plastic tupperware that has to be replaced. They are also come in handy for microwaving foods at work so we don't have to put plastic in the microwave. Pyrex makes a great set that you can get at Target.
5. Earth Friendly, Chemical Free, Non-toxic soaps, detergents and house cleaners. Our favorite is Caldrea Citrus Mint Ylang Ylang. They have their own version of "comet" and "windex". All of their products clean wonderfully. Also, wash clothes in cold water and wear jeans and other clothes a few times between washings.
6. Washclothes and dish towels for messes. If we do buy paper towels, we buy the unbleached 100% recycled ones from Seventh Generation. They are awesome!
7. Buy in bulk to reduce packaging. If it's too much stuff, share with someone or another family.
8. Lately, we've been buying a lot of furniture and home decor items that are vintage, or repurposed. Not only are they unique but they come with history and no new trees were used to make them. I go to this sale once a month. www.goodjujukc.com
9. Buy recycled paper products whenever possible like printer paper, paper towels, toilet paper etc. I've even gotten notebook folders and dividers that were 100% recycled. If you want it, most likely it's out there.
10. Turn lights off when you leave a room and use CFL light bulbs. Also, unplug electronics or power strip when we aren't using them. They still use energy when they are turned off. This one saves a lot of electricity and money.
11. Ride our bikes to the store whenever possible and plan to go to multiple places in one trip to save gas and carpool.
12. RECYCLE, RECYCLE, RECYCLE. You'd be surprised as to how much you can recycle. We have so little trash that we only put out our trash every other week and it's still not full. We are fortunate that our city gave us enormous rolling Recycle bins that take almost everything except glass. We save up that glass and take it the recycle center a couple times a year.
We have a few herbs that we use on a regular basis, but I'd love to have an actual garden. Once we get the garden figured out, I'd like to compost and water it with a rain barrel.